Let me count the ways..
1. Old Market – The place is quaint and comfortable. The tourists that were there were decent, not the partying and getting wasted kind of tourists. You won’t see local Cambodian girls with Old Caucasian men which sadly is a common sight in other parts of Southeast Asia. There were a lot of artsy and affordable places to eat and chill. Personal favorites are the Viva Mexican Restaurant and the Blue Pumpkin with its really cool lounge on the second floor.
2. The Angkor Wat Complex – It was amazing to see what the Khmer people had accomplished thousands of years ago. We got a one day pass for $20. There are also 3 Day Passes. Woke up early for the sunrise. It was a sight to see. The other temples as well are equally gorgeous and very photogenic.
3. Cheap Accommodation – We had a room at the Two Dragons Hostel that cost us $15 a night and there were 3 of us. It had AC, hot shower and free bottled water. It was kept clean. The location is also close to the Old Market. They had bikes you can rent for $1 a day. A tuktuk also costs $1 to the Old Market and vice versa but you must know this because drivers from the Old Market will try to charge you more unless you insist.
4. Great Food – During our stay, we dined in so many good places with affordable prices. We’ve had Mexican food, local Khmer food, cakes, ice cream, and a Happy Pizza. We were never hungry. We ate to our heart’s content. From our most expensive meal at $7 to the cheapest at $1.
5. Cheap Modes of Transportation – We hired a tuktuk driver that would drive us around for the whole day for $15 (and that’s divided by 3 people). It felt nice to have a personal driver – kind of. We also rented a bike for $1 which was a nice way to see the town or city of Siem Reap, just like how the locals do it. A Taxi going to the Poipet border only costs $25 and that’s 2-3 hours from Siem Reap.
6. Massage, Massage, Massage – There are all kinds of massage services available. We had one every night during our stay. We tried the body massage (usually cost about $3-$6 at the Old Market), foot massage and the Doctor Fish massage where fishes nibble the dead skin off your feet – costs $1 for 15 minutes which is as much as we can take.
7. The Vibe – I really liked the vibe of the place like an old romantic rustic town. There aren’t any large malls. There are charming places to hangout and visit. I’ve only been there a day and I’ve been thinking how or when I can visit again. I can imagine myself living there actually, just biking around town and enjoying life.
It really felt like a Vacation. You know how some places, you have a schedule to see and fit everything in 3 or 4 days. In Siem Reap, we did see the things we wanted but at the same time we enjoyed the place in itself at our own pace. We did not rush. In fact, we had plenty of time to loiter around. It’s that kind of place where everyday seems like a vacation.
My friend describes this picture as JT of Cambodia selling banana pancakes..